New York City, NY: Old Guard Trail

Relive summer camp on a hike full of mini-habitats, historic relics, and hilltop views.
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Relive summer camp on a hike full of mini-habitats, historic relics, and hilltop views.

This moderate 6-mile loop may bring back memories of summer camp (the Boy Scout’s Camp Glen Gray is tucked among the trees), but it offers plenty of highlights for a grown-up hiker, too: views of Manhattan, rolling hills, historic artifacts, and unusual wildflowers such as prickly pear and pale corydalis.
Begin in the woods on the orange-blazed Schuber Trail, then pass Lake Vreeland and the camp before joining the Old Guard Trail at mile 1.2. The path trundles uphill on the historic Cannonball Road (so-called for the heavy artillery it carried during the Revolutionary War), then splits; follow the Old Guard (blazed with a green leaf symbol) left into the maple-birch-oak forest. The trail continues along a sheer ledge, skirts a hillside, and joins the Ringwood-Ramapo Trail on the way to an outcrop with views of the Wyanokie Mountains to the north and nearby Erskine Lake. Stay on the Old Guard as it rolls up and down rocky hills and crosses streams; at 4.1 miles, rejoin the Schuber Trail. Take the short spur to a 996-foot ridgetop with sweeping views of the distant Palisades and the Manhattan skyline, then continue to the Yellow-Silver Trail. Veer right when the Yellow Trail splits (look for mining artifacts such as kitchenware and a stone homesite), then turn right on the Millstone Trail. You’ll pass through Camp Glen Gray on the way back to the Schuber Trail and your car.
Info: Map: North Jersey Trails (New York-New Jersey Trail Conference). (201) 327-3500; www.co.bergen.nj.us/parks/parks/Ramapo.htm
Hike provided by Mary Jasch, author of Best Hikes with Dogs--New Jersey (Mountaineers Books).

Waypoints

OLD001

Location: 41.0481338500977, -74.251350402832

Trailhead